Leopards and elephants and rhinos, oh my

I'm back! For anyone wondering why I've been reposting old pieces for the last few weeks, it's because my wife and I were enjoying a much-deserved holiday in South Africa. I'll stick a link to some photos shortly, but for the moment, here's some post-holiday geekery for you.

The trip was a wildlife extravaganza. We spent four days in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve (just south of Kruger), as well as whale-watching, various walks through national parks and four fabulous hours tracking wild meerkats. I'll be sticking up details and photos over the coming weeks/months, but for now, here's a full list of the species we saw.

I've restricted it to only those animals that we saw in the wild, and then only those that I could identify down to the species level (which explains why the bird list isn't longer and why they're all vertebrates). Asterisks denote species that I have photos of.


  • Southern right whale, Eubalaena australis *
  • Leopard, Panthera pardus *
  • Spotted hyena, Crocuta crocuta *
  • Meerkat, Suricata suricatta *
  • Slender mongoose, Galerella sanguinea
  • White-tailed mongoose, Ichneumia albicauda
  • Dwarf mongoose, Helogale parvula *
  • Cape fur seal, Arctocephalus pusillus
  • Rock hyrax, Procavia capensis *
  • African bush elephant, Loxodonta africana *
  • Chacma baboon, Papio cynocephalus *
  • Lesser bushbaby, Galago moholi
  • Hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius *
  • White rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum *
  • Plain's zebra, Equus burchelli *
  • Warthog, Phacochoerus aethiopicus *
  • Giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis *
  • Cape buffalo, Syncerus caffer *
  • Nyala, Tragelaphus angasi *
  • Kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros*
  • Bushbuck, Tragelaphus scriptus *
  • Eland, Taurotragus oryx *
  • Springbok, Antidorcas marsupalis
  • Common duiker, Sylvicapra grimmia
  • Steenbok Raphicerus campestris
  • Waterbuck, Kobus ellipsiprymnus
  • Impala, Aepyceros melampus *
  • Blue wildebeest, Connochaetes taurinus *
  • Bontebok, Damaliscus pygargus pygargus*
  • Striped mouse, Rhabdomys pumilio
  • Smith's bush squirrel, Paraxerus cepapi*
  • Scrubhare, Lepus saxatilis


  • Ostrich, Struthio camelus *
  • African penguin, Spheniscus demersus *
  • White-breasted cormorant, Phalacrocorax lucidus *
  • Cape cormorant, Phalacrocorax capensis *
  • Grey heron, Ardea cinerea *
  • Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
  • Hadada ibis, Bostrychia hagedash *
  • Sacred ibis, Threskiornis aethiopicus
  • Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiacus *
  • Yellow-billed kite, Milvus aegyptius *
  • African Fish eagle, Haliaeetus vocifer *
  • White-backed vulture, Gyps africanus *
  • Bateleur, Terathopius ecaudatus *
  • Gymnogene (African harrier-hawk), Polyboroides typus
  • Wahlberg's eagle, Aquila wahlbergi *
  • Martial eagle, Polemaetus bellicosus *
  • Shelley's francolin, Francolinus shelleyi
  • Helmeted guineafowl, Numida meleagris *
  • Blue crane, Grus paradisea *
  • Red-knobbed coot, Fulica cristata
  • Red-crested korhaan, Lophotis ruficrista
  • Blacksmith plover, Vanellus armatus *
  • Three-banded plover, Charadrius tricollaris *
  • Kelp gull, Larus dominicanus *
  • Hartlaub's gull, Chroicocephalus hartlaubii
  • Spotted eagle-owl, Bubo africanus
  • European roller, Coracias garrulus
  • Southern Yellow-billed hornbill, Tockus leucomelas *
  • Black-collared barbet, Lybius torquatus *
  • Crested barbet, Trachyphonus vaillantii *
  • Cardinal woodpecker, Dendropicos fuscescens *
  • Yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava *
  • Malachite sunbird, Nectarinia famosa
  • Greater double-collared sunbird, Cinnyris afer *
  • Lesser double-collared sunbird, Cinnyris chalybeus
  • Eurasian golden oriole, Oriolus oriolus
  • Fiscal shrike, Lanius collaris
  • Magpie shrike, Corvinella melanoleuca *
  • Fork-tailed drongo, Dicrurus adsimilis
  • Cape crow, Corvus capensis *
  • Pied crow, Corvus albus
  • Red-winged starling, Onychognathus morio *
  • Cape glossy starling, Lamprotornis nitens
  • Yellow-billed oxpecker, Buphagus africanus *
  • Red bishop, Euplectes orix *
  • Cape weaver, Ploceus capensis *
  • Blue swallow, Hirundo atrocaerulea
  • Cape white-eye, Zosterops pallidus,
  • Lemon dove, Columba larvata

Reptiles and amphibians

  • Black girdled lizard, Cordylus niger *
  • Southern rock agama Agama atra *
  • Foamy nest frog, Chiromantis rufescens *
  • Leopard Tortoise, Geochelone pardalis



More like this

My recent visit to Manhattan Kansas and the Platte River, Nebraska, was the first time I've ever set foot into either state, so this is my complete bird list for that region. Life list birds are noted with red font. Eastern Kansas/Nebraska Bird List Snow goose, white and blue phases Canada goose…
Talitiainen (Great Tit), Parus major. Photographed in Hietaniemen hautausmaa (Hietaniemi cemetery), Helsinki, Finland. Image: GrrlScientist, 24 November 2008 [larger view]. Now that I am on the plane, returning to the USA, I will share my revised list of birds seen in the Helsinki area of…
tags: Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris mediocris, birds, mystery bird, bird ID quiz [Mystery bird] Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris mediocris, photographed in the West Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours] Image: Dan Logen, 4 September…
tags: Yellow-billed Loon, Gavia adamsii, birds, mystery bird, bird ID quiz [Mystery bird] Yellow-billed Loon, Gavia adamsii, photographed in Arizona. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow] Image: Richard Ditch, 2008 [larger view]. Date Time Original: 2008:05:23 06:41:10 Exposure Time: 1/…

I'm quite envious! One of these days I'll make it to Africa...

Looking forward to seeing your photos!